Tell Congress to Include Displaced Broadcast, Cable, and Production Workers in Relief Package
As social distancing measures are enacted and productions are cancelled across all segments of the broadcast industry, the COVID-19 situation has become so dire for broadcast, cable, and production workers that it requires decisive action from the federal government. Broadcast, cable, and production daily hire and freelance workers who were scheduled to work for a day, week, month, or season on a production are, in many cases, finding themselves without planned wages and benefits.
The bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) is a good start to providing relief to workers. However, the provisions on the table for emergency paid leave benefits won’t apply to certain displaced broadcast, cable, and production workers because of the requirements for the number of days worked on a job in order to qualify.
The unique nature of the broadcast industry means that many of these creative professionals may not work every day, or even every month. Existing paid leave programs are by and large not applicable to this workforce. Broadcast, cable, and production workers depend on income from each project they book to ensure they can support themselves and can qualify to participate in our collectively bargained health plans. Rules designed specifically for the traditional single employer relationship, or even for multi-employer work in the construction industry are likely to exclude our members, and broadcast daily hires and freelancers in general.
Broadcast, cable, and production workers shouldn’t be collateral damage in the fight against COVID-19. We need a special Emergency Coronavirus Economic Support Benefit geared to include workers who have a bona fide, good faith offer to work that gets canceled due to the coronavirus.